Canada simplifies rules for UAS

By Emily Aasand | November 20, 2014

Transport Canada announced two exemptions that simplify small unmanned air vehicles (sUAV) operations and safely integrate sUAVs into Canadian airspace at a recent Unmanned Systems event in Montreal.

The exemptions state that special flight operations certificates won’t be required for UAVs under two kilograms (4.4 pounds) and certain operations involving UAVs under 25 kg (55 lbs.).

“These exemptions will require companies to fly sUAVs within certain safety conditions including height restrictions, minimum distances from aerodromes and other hazards, as well as flight in specific airspace and visual line of sight,” a spokesperson for Transport Canada told UAS Magazine.

The 25 kg weight threshold was developed based on research from a joint Transport Canada industry working group of UAV systems program design. The threshold is also consistent with international approaches to classifying UAVs, including ongoing work by the International Civil Aviation Organization, according to Transport Canada.

“Transport Canada has requirements in place for aircraft of all sizes. For businesses, these changes will make it easier for their small UAVs to take flight sooner, while maintaining the safety of those on the ground and in the skies,” said Lisa Raitt, minister of Transport.

Canada has had safety regulations in place that govern the use of UAVs since 1996 and if operators are caught flying UAVs without special flight operations certificates, Transport Canada can issue fines of up to $5,000 for an individual and $25,000 for a company. Misconduct of special flight operations certificates can result in $3,000 fines for individuals and $15,000 for a company, according to Transport Canada.

“This approach will dramatically improve the ability for Canadian businesses to safely make use of this extremely capable technology while substantially reducing the time it takes to get authorization for more complex operations,” said Stewart Baillie, chairman of Unmanned Systems Canada. “Coupled with the safety awareness campaign announced two weeks ago, I believe that Canada now has one of the most effective and progressive UAV regulatory frameworks in the world.”

The changes will come into effect at the end of November 2014.